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From Sevilla to Morocco driving with a child

From Sevilla to Morocco driving with a child

Feb 9th, 2007, 11:48 PM
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From Sevilla to Morocco driving with a child

I tried this in the Morocco area, but since there are so many informed people here I thought I might get some answers.

We are heading off on a big 7 month tour around Europe in a camper, so I am swamped with prep and need all the BTDT advice I can get.

We will be camped in Sevilla for Holy Week and then want to go into Morocco for a week or 10 days before heading up to Barcelona ( and then Ferrying over to Italy etc).

We were going to caravan in with our camper with a friend that has been doing this for 20 years, but they do 21 day tours & I do not want to spend that time.

We are thinking now of renting small car and doing our own itinerary. Is this feasable?

Is it best to rent it in Spain or Tangier?

Was is the best way to go over and easiest way to get out of Tangier and into a better area?

We would like to see Fez, Marrakech,Essoria and do an over night in desert/camel ride thing.

Any ideas for an itinerary?

ANY help would be greatly appreciated!
WTnow is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 01:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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No Spanish rental companies will allow you to take their car over to Morocco (or even to put on a ferry) - insurance and theft issues.
Just get over there by ferry as foot passengers, and either hire a car there (though it costs a lot more than in Spain) or use public transport. Train travel is fast, comfortable and cheap, and tickets are easy to get. Buses are even cheaper, but can be a bit chaotic finding the right bus and getting a ticket as there are many private bus companies, each with its own route, schedule and ticketing arrangement.
Alec is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 02:40 AM
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Thanks Alec,
That seems to clearly rule out the car idea. So perhaps we are leaning more toward the train idea and I have a good link from the man in seat61 for that.

I would still love any ideas about the itinerary. I am wondering if I should skip Fez ( people seem to either love it or hate it). What do you think?

Is there a link any where for the waterpark in Marrakech? I hear it is good for children but can not find it online?

How many visiters get travelers diarhea in Morocco and how can we best prevent that as we go?

Are vaccines a must?

Thanks in advance for any help!( I do not have a guide book here and am not sure where I can find one in English in Spain yet...so looking for best online links).
WTnow is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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We are leaving for Barcelona and Morocco in 5 weeks so I have done a fair amount of research. I just heard about the waterpark on the TripAdvisor site. They do not seem to have a website, but I did find some brief info. and great pictures of it on someones blog. Here is the link:maroof.blogspot.com/.

Here is a link from CDC about vaccinations. Nothing is required, but they do make several recommendations. www.cdc.gov/travel/nafrica.htm. We just got our shots last week. Did HepA, Tetanus/Diptheria, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) and Typhoid. The kids were up to date on everything so only need to do Typhoid - which we are doing with the oral vaccine.

We will be spending 8 nights in Morocco doing 3 nights in Marakkech, 3 nights to desert (one in Ouzarzate, one in Merzouga, one in desert) then 2 nights in Fez. In most of what I have read, people love Fez, even more than Marakkech. They say it is less touristy, more authentic. We will be doing Marakkech on our own, but have hired Blue Men of Morocco (www.bluemenofmorocco.com) to take us to the desert and Fez.

For more info, try the Tripadvisor Morocco Forum. While there are some guides on there just trying to get you to contact them, there are several informative locals as well as recent travellers who can give you some good info.

jgg is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Thank you Jgg, that is a big help! I have been reading and reading online ( til I am dizzy) on Morocco and I go between really excited to scared to death. lol!

Some stories sound so great, but others sound really scary.It is hard to get a real feel for it and there is not much about traveling with children there.

You sound like you have a great itinerary. It sounds similar to what we wanted to do but I also did want to see Essouria ( sp? unless it is in front of me I foget all these spellings).I mean that sea side town aobut 2 or 3 hours from Marracech.

Are you doing the camel ride and nite in tent in Sahara? We were planning that too near Merzouga.

I might have to stetch it to ten days but I have timing issues for the rest of the trip,so keeping it to a week will be better.

I was thinking maybe doing inter country flights...like fez to Marracech to save some time.

I am wondering if anyone knows how bad it is to arrive in Tangeriers on the ferry? Maybe I should ask that as a separate question. I hear it is bad, but wonder how bad exactly and how to make it better. We would just want to get to a train station.

Do you speak French? That is my other concern as we do not speak French. We got by in France, but it sure was a LOT easier once we hit Spain ( since 2 of us are fluent in that).

So far no one has answered my questions in Trip advisor MOrocco forum ( or hardly any where else I have posted).

I find I get the best details from BTDT travelers so that is disconcerting.

I do not have a lot of time left ( due to other pressures & Spain trip with family) but I have faith that some how it will come together. It seems the kind of trip that does need lots of study.

I appreciate your help!!
WTnow is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Been to Morocco once. Loved the experience, except for Tangiers. When you leave the ferry in Tangiers, if not in a tour group, local people who want to be your guide will hang close to you and don't want to accept a no thank you response. Just ignore them (I was followed by one for probably ninety minutes but he finally went away). Fresh off the boat I was still a bit intimidated by what might result from eating in Morocco but eventually went into a pizza restuarant. Odd experience: never before been served pizza on china by waiters in tuxedos. The bill was cheap by the way; about $6 for a large pizza and two cokes for my friend and myself (this was about 6 or 7 years ago). Took the train to Rabat (good city to visit featuring a large medina and roman ruins) and Fez (even larger medina, I kept expecting John the Baptist or at least Lawrence of Arabia to ride by); people were nice and the food edible. By the end of the trip I was wolfing down sandwhiches bought from the vendors at the bus rest stop on the way back to Tangiers.
floydvic is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Just returned on Th. from spain and Morocco. My first time in Morocco-LOVED IT!!!! In the midst of posting a report-there will be lots of pix check it out. I was a bit nervous before getting there but found it to be both easy and wonderful. Any questions, happy to answer and BTW I don't speak French or Artabic- no problems.
laartista is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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Hi, WTnow:

I've been to Morocco twice, most recently in 2001. Love that country! I haven't been to Fez, but have visited Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir, Essouira, and the Atlas Mountain area.

I would avoid Tangier if you can. Look into budget flights from Europe (www.whichbudget.com) - not sure if they exist, but if they do it might be a good way to bypass Tangiers. If you do have to go through Tangiers, leave as soon as possible. It's really just a PITA and not at all representative of the country.

One thing I would look into if train travel doesn't work for you is hiring private guides with a car. We did that in 2001 a couple of times and it was very inexpensive (abhout $30 a day) and we learned a lot of things from our driver that we'd never have known otherwise - even got to meet his family and have dinner with them. However, we both spoke fluent French; if your French isn't up to par, you might need to do some research to find an English-speaking one.

You could, of course, rent a car when you get there, but when we did that we ended up with some sort of patched-together Jeep with no windshield. IN addition to dealing with the general chaos on the roads around the cities, the debris flying into the car was quite a challenge. I'm guessing the car rental scene has become a bit more sophisticated than it was back on my first trip, but it probably will be more challenging that a European rental.

As for illness, on the first trip we all got grievously ill for several days (same thing happened on a different trip to Tunisia). In 2001 we came through unscathed (though admittedly I'm in a better income bracket now and we stayed at a very nice hotel and ate at nice restaurants). Just beware the water (even if it's bottled, it may have been refilled and recapped) and take the usual precautions with raw fruits, vegetables, salads, etc. I would highly recommend you get all the shots.

Good luck and have a wonderful trip!
StCirq is online now  
Feb 10th, 2007, 01:34 PM
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Wow, thanks! This is the most information I have gotten from BTDT people and is so helpful to get a sense of things.

I am kind of clear on where I would like to go, but the little details from others helps so much. Nice to hear "loved it".

Can't wait to read your trip report and see the pics La artista and I will probably think of more questions for you.

"Grieviously ill" now that is the scary one for me. I have been like that in Mexico and some French Island in the Caribbean. Ugh.

I got hepatitus in Haiti on vacation at a very high end hotel when young eating raw clams at the beach ( and did not even know it for months afterward when I turned yellow).The good news is I am now immune to that as is my daughter thanks to breastfeeding.

BUT she is a very skinny ( but very healthy) kid. She only weighs about 35lbs/14 K and there is NO excess fat on her, so no cushion should she get seriously ill.

She has never gotten sick hardly in her life...a few sniffles about once a year. But a mom worries a bit about these things.

I wish I knew the kind of percentages of people that get sick there and how to best avoid it. ( I have read good things on avoiding it).

I have read to even be careful of bottle water or watered down OJ. Yikes. I am not sure I would not worry the whole time about food and lurking germs. lol!

I am not even a germ conscious person!

It would just be a LOT easier to go in from here as we would have to go to Madrid etc to take a flight in for a decent price. So we will probably have to deal with Tangiers.

Any ideas where I could find an English or Spanish speaking driver? Maybe even get one to take us to Fez? Or is that crazy?
WTnow is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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I have a terrible stomach-ulcer last year and take prilosec everyday for super bad acid reflux. My doc gave me a scrip for Cipro before I left in case I came down with any bad stomach issues. Never happened. I had no problem w/ the food, I was concerned after reading a bunch of stuff on peoples bad food experiences. We even ate at the stalls in the main square and no problems. Stick w/ bottled water but that's common sense.
laartista is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Not sure whose trip report you were referring to, but my 2001 trip report is posted on www.slowtrav.com. Search for Road to Marrakech and you should find it.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 10th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Starting Feb. 22 Easy jet begins service Madrid to Marrakech for cheap. check it out
laartista is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 11:58 PM
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Thanks all. At first I was thinking about the Madrid flight in , but it is so very out of our way and will add time to front and back of trip.

I loooove your trip report StCirq! I wish I could write as well and it was also very funny.

Does anyone know if it will be warm enough in Marrakesh to go to the water park in mid april.

I am thinking about cutting out Fez and just doing Marrakesh, esso., and Medzorga ( sp?) for camel ride in desert.

If we take a train from Tangier to Marrakesh ( and miss the night train) what would be the best stopping point around half way for an overnight?

I hear it is best to get small change right away ( for all the tips).Where can I do that near ferry landing or train station in Tangiers?

How about taking a laptop? The main reason is to upload pics as I am sure I will be taking a ton. If there is wifi, I could also upload my blog.

Thanks again!
WTnow is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 12:40 AM
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I did you itin a few years ago, but on foot and by bus, so the driving part I am of no help in the driving.

I would not stay in Tangier (I didn't like it at all), but move on to Chefchaouen, a really beautiful town about 2 hours away from Tangier. I high recommend the Guernika hotel. It is beautiful and the owner, Ana María, is quite helpful.

From there, go to Fez and stay in the Old city.

In Marrakech, stay near Djemaa el Fnaa.

When driving to the desert, you will want to take a guide with you, as it is easy to get lost and you will want them for when you get the Merzouga, which is an outpost, but you will rent your camels and such there. Go into the desert and spend the night (unforgettable experience), then head back to Marrakech and on the Essaouira. This is my favorite port city in the country. The ramparts are great, as is the food (fish lunch and dinner at the market for cheap was my favorite meal), and the actual city is just beautiful.

10 days is cutting it close to do all that traveling, but if you have your own car, it should go faster.
laclaire is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 04:12 AM
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Thanks Claire!

I am glad to hear you say that staying night in desert is an unforgettable experience. We are looking forward to that.

I think you are right about timing, so I think I have to cut out Fes this time.

I am thinking about forgetting car and taking the ferry to Tangier then jump on the train to Rabat or Casablanca for the first night or take the all night couchette/sleep car ( if we can get it) to Marrakech.

Maybe fly back from Marrakech to Madrid and train back to Malaga.

Are there high speed trains from Madrid to Malaga? ( I know there are to Seville).Off hand do you or anyone know the cost or timing?
WTnow is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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check renfe.es for train possibilities.

If you arrive in Tangier in the morning, you might be able to get a couchette on to Marrakech, but do not count on it because they do fill up (I have been there a couple of times). Try to find a way to get the tickets before you arrive (I don't know how) so you can just get right on.

Flying back to Spain is a great idea and it will be such a time saver. If you have 10 days, you can just get right down to Marrakech (check roundrip airfare. . . you might be surprised), and from there do the desert and Essaouira, which are both fantastic, and then really enjoy Marrakech (Patisserie des Princes, Dallas juice shop, Djemaa el Fnaa (egg and potato pitas with oil and spices!), and the souk. That is a great 10 days!
laclaire is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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Thanks again Claire!

Do you remember who took you out to the desert for the great experience? I want to make sure we have a great experience as I just read someone who had a nightmare on thiers.

Was riding the camel painful? I want to be at that pretty area of ubi chebbi like the pics at sunrise.

I have read that you can not buy the train tickets until you get into Morocco. I am thinking we could do an over night in Casablanca if we can't get one and at least be half way there.

Did you ( or anyone) do the typhoid vaccine ( its oral)? They say nothing is required, but some places recommend it. I am wondering how many people actually do that for a short stay.

We do not tend to do medicine unless we absolutely have to and I am trying to guage the risk. ( Sometimes the risk of the vax is higher than the risk of the disease).

Have you ever gotten sick on your travel to Morocco?

This is our most daring adventure so far, but I really would like my child to experience this ( us too ) I am feeling more confident now.
WTnow is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 12:41 AM
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To get to the Sahara, I used Sahara International, which was a wonderful experience. We did the 3 day tour (the 4 day is a bust according to those who did it) and got to see a lot of the countryside as well as the amazing dunes and desert. I found them in the Lonely Planet guide.

Camel ride: not to be crude, but here is an exact exchange I had with a guy on my tour.
guy: Jesus! This hurts. I mean really!
me: really? 'cause I'm about to have a happy ending up here.

Guys and girls are different.

I have never been vaccinated and never gotten sick. On my first trip (the one you are doing, essentially), I ate from street vendors, in private homes, and did everything you are not supposed to (yes, I drank tap water a few times) and did not get sick. This past trip (far South: Laayoune and Sidi Ifni) I worked in a kitchen cooking and eating all kinds of stuff, and as I was there for Ait Kbir, I ended up eating a lot of lamb that I would not have normally, and again, no getting sick. I have a steel stomach, though. That said, I would just take the normal precautions and enjoy myself.
laclaire is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 02:56 AM
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Hey laclaire (sorry wt ti hijack for a minute)
Saw you post here and wanted to say I loved morocco and actually thought of you in the desert. I remembered how you said it changed your life and with all the stars in the sky. The night we were there it rained,. Can you believe it? Rain. No stars. I told my friend what you said about the stars, she said we'll just have to go back. You were right life changing. And thanks for all the info beforehand.

WT listen to laclaire she gives good advice about Morocco, oh and Spain
laartista is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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Thanks again!

Now I get the camel thing...lol!

I could not find that sarhara international online, do you have a link?

Now I am thinking of doing that first overnight in Fez instead of Casablanca as it seems to be more interesting. We will just get a quick look at it as we will take the train onto Marrakesh.

Since there is no way we can know if we will get the night train, I am just going to book that first night in Fez. Do you know how long the train ride is to Marrakesh from there?

Hopefully we will have no problems with the food.
WTnow is offline  

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